Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the Liverpool fan base will be relived to know every Liverpool player have come back from international duty unscathed ahead of their trip to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.
Jurgen Klopp may have made his feelings known regarding the international break, but it appears to have worked out perfectly for Liverpool so far.
The Reds boss was unhappy that his players were being called away to play for the national sides, in the midst of a relentless fixture list.
In all, 12 of Klopp’s senior players were called up for international duty, including Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson.
In a boost to Klopp though, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has struggled for form this term, was left out of the England squad. This allowed the 22-year-old to have a period of rest, which will put him and rest of the players in great contention for the upcoming fixtures against Arsenal and Real Madrid.
This also includes vital players too such as: Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino they have remained on Merseyside, rather than featuring for Brazil.
This will be an advantage to ensure they give it their all in the final part of the 20/21 season.
However lets round up how the several Liverpool stars represented their country on international duty.
- Kostas Tskimas
He started and impressed in Greece’s 1-1 draw with Spain in their opening match of UEFA World Cup Qualifying group game on Thursday night.
Remarkably, this was Tsimikas’ first competitive start since December. His previous outing took place in the Champions League against FC Midtjylland.
The Liverpool left-back produced a strong all-round performance and went toe-to-toe with the 2010 World Cup Champions. However he was replaced in the 80th minute although his substitution was attributed to tiredness rather than an injury
However there is some positive news he was on the bench as an unused substitute in yesterday against Georgia in their UEFA Qualification first round Group B game.
Tsimikas country are currently in third with a game in hand and are currently five points away from Spain who are current leaders of Group B.
- Neco Williams
Another Liverpool youngster trying to breakthrough for regular football at Anfield. Neco Williams is an integral part of the Wales team and plays a vital role in their squad. it is great to see a local lad once again representing his country at such a young age.
Williams is an increasingly important figure for Wales, and played 205 minutes over the international break including two World Cup qualifiers and a friendly. Williams has adapted well largely from a new role. Instead of playing his usual position as a right back as he deputised as left wing-back.
He started two games in that position, including a 3-1 loss to Belgium. However Wales did recover from their disappointing defeat as they beat the Czech Republic 1-0 to put them in third place, currently four points behind leaders Belgium in Group E.
- Ozan Kabak
The January Liverpool loane has been impressive recently for the reds and deserved his international call up by Şenol Güneş.
Ozan Kabak appears to be impressing Liverpool fans more and more with each passing game. The centre-back is on loan with the Reds from Schalke. The 20-year-old looks to have grown in confidence with each game he plays
Turkey are currently top of group G with seven points from the possible nine after impressive victories against Netherlands and Norway. They were held to a 3-3 draw with Latvia in their final game. Kabak started against Netherlands and Latvia, he also featured as a sub against Norway.
The 21 year old continued to impress for his country over the international break. including an impressive game vs the Netherlands with many outstanding moments such as: 11 clearances, three interceptions, and an amazing goal-line clearance. This was in their World Cup qualifier against the Dutch who had Gini Wijnaldum as captain.
- Andy Robertson
One of Liverpool and Scotland vital player Andy Robertson was amongst the Liverpool senior players called up for their respective countries. Robertson has played a huge number of games for both club and country.
He is captain for Steve Clarke side and played a huge role towards their qualification spot for the Euro this summer. Robertson is considered to be one of the best left-backs in the world, due to his pace, energy, and crossing ability.
Former Liverpool captain Sir Kenny Dalglish has said "For me, there are few, if any, better than him in his position."
Unfortunately, he was on the end of some criticism after being compared to fellow left-back playing down the middle, Kieran Tierney.
Scotland boss and former Liverpool assistant manager, Steve Clarke, said
“I thought the criticism of Andy Robertson the other night was poor. He had a good game so judge the player. It was poor, really poor, as Andy Robertson had a good game for us the other night in the first and second half".
Robertson was on the pitch for every minute of Scotland’s draws with Austria and Israel and their 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands resulting in 270 minutes of football.
Andy Robertson will now be rearing to get back to Kirby training centre to prepare against Arsenal and come up against international team mate Kieran Tierany.
The Liverpool play maker made only one appearance for Spain during the international break resulting in him playing only 53 minutes of football. The 29-year old was a hugely exciting arrival from Bayern Munich last September, having won the Champions League in 2019/20 and been one of the best midfielders in Europe.
Despite a slightly underwhelming first year on Merseyside, there is no denying that Thiago is a wonderful footballer, though. Thiago didn’t start in any of Spain’s three games but he featured as a sub in two of them.
On Sunday night, the midfielder was introduced as a substitute in Spain’s 2-1 win away to Georgia ,He produced an eye-catching cameo off the bench, helping turn the match around and outlining his quality on the ball and reminding Liverpool fans what they can expect when he is on top form. Spain are currently top of their group with seven points from a possible nine.
- Naby Keita
Keita played the maximum number of minutes, as the midfielder was recalled before Guinea’s second Africa Cup of Nations qualifier of the break. Naby Keita has helped Guinea qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations following a 1-0 win over Mali in their penultimate Group A fixture
- Gini Wijnaldum
Mr reliable once again showing his abilities in the centre of midfield as he scored another goal for his country.
Wijnaldum has been one of our most consistent players this season, playing almost every game in an injury free campaign. He’s proving how reliable he is, starting in all three games across the seven day period. He played a full 90 in two of the games and was dissapointed when he got subbed off against Latvia.
He stated in his interview:
‘I wanted to remain on the pitch because I had the feeling that I could score another goal because Latvia were becoming more open in their defence"
The Dutchmen won two out of their three games, losing 4-2 to a very impressive Turkish side. They scored nine goals against Latvia and Gibraltar while keeping a clean sheet in both. Wijnaldum also got himself a goal and two assists in their 7-0 win against Gibraltar.
- Curtis Jones
Another Liverpool youngster representing his country at youth level as the youngster continues to show why Jurgen Klopp need to have faith in him. However he did have an adventure full of highs and lows for England U21.
Jones was forced to bide his time with cameos in England’s first two group games at the U21 Euros, but made sure to make his mark as he started an unsuccessful final fixture, scoring one and picking up a red card late on.
Curtis Jones doubled the lead in the 74th minute for his side. However Croatia went on to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition with a stunning winner in stoppage time.
Curtis Jones was already booked earlier in the game and he picked up another yellow card after ending up in an altercation with the Croatian players when they began celebrating around England team
- Xherdan Shaqiri
The Switzerland international is another player who has struggled for consistency during his time at Anfield. However he is his country main player. During the international break Shaqiri played a total of 125 minutes.
The 29-year-old remains a crucial part of Switzerland’s squad as they look to seal their place in the 2022 World Cup, having started his second game in three days.
Shaqiri had recorded two assists in just three minutes last time out at Bulgaria and it was a similar swift impact on Sunday as his side played host to Lithuania.
Retaining his place as a No. 10, Shaqiri once again proved key and influential throughout but it was his goal in the second minute which would secure all three points.
The only goal of the game came as Switzerland pressed high and forced Lithuania into relinquishing possession in their defensive third, with Shaqiri fed the ball in the box before unleashing a clinical first-time strike.
The game finished 1-0 at the end of the 90 minutes, where Shaqiri played 80 and made the joint-most key passes and tackles for his side in their second qualifying win. They now sit in second place of group C with seven points.
- Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane has not been firing on all cylinders recently since his return from COVID-19 after the first international break. However he was recalled on international duty for Senegal as he played a total of 114 minutes for his country. Senegal went unbeaten in their group and ended up leaders, sealing their place in the AFCON.
Senegal manager Aliou Cisse was sensible with his use of Liverpool’s No. 10, fielding him for 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Congo before a short substitute’s role in their game against Eswatini.
- Mohammed Salah
Egypt’s talisman, Salah unsurprisingly played every minute as they clinched their place at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, scoring twice in a 4-0 win over Comoros. The Egyptian played a total of 180 minutes of International football.
The two-time African Player of the Year found the net twice in the first half as the Pharaohs silenced Les Coelacantes 4-0 in Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
With both teams already through to Cameroon 2022, they took to the Cairo International Stadium for national pride as well as to determine the winners of Group G.
Salah would be hoping to reproduce this form when he leads the attack of Jurgen Klopp’s side in their Premier League encounter with Arsenal on Saturday, at the Emirates Stadium.
- Diego Jota
The Portuguese international is possibly in the form of his life at the moment as he continues to impress for club and country. Diego Jota played a total of 153 minutes of football and made every minute count as he scored three goals
He started against Serbia and Luxembourg, scoring three times. He has been amazing for the Reds and now he’s producing the same form on an international stage.
Jota has been in fine form for the Reds this season in his debut campaign on Merseyside, scoring 10 goals in all competitions despite missing three months of action with a knee injury.
On his first outing for Portugal since November, Jota scored two goals as his country were held to a 2-2 draw with Serbia to take his total to five goals from just 11 caps for his country. He has now also been directly involved in eight goals from his five Portugal starts.
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping his international stars can come back fresh ahead of their final few months of season. The reds will continue to push for a spot in next seasons Champions League.
They will also have their sights on continuing their progress within the UEFA Champions League as they will be facing Real Madrid next week in the Quarter Finals of the competition.